BY CYNTHIA WAIRIMU
Often, when faced with something as trivial as flu, we simply walk into a chemist and buy cold caps and move on with life. This is pretty much what is referred to as Self Medication, where you self-diagnoses and self-medicate without consultation or prescription from a doctor. Now on the upside, you save on time going to see a health practitioner, and costs such as consultation fees and laboratory tests, and the internet is so easy to access and even form a diagnosis.
However, this is a very dangerous habit that has such adverse consequences. Our bodies are indispensable but are also immortal, meaning that we have to take care of ourselves in the best way possible to avoid any problem that could lead to harm or deterioration of function both mentally, and physically.
The wrong diagnosis will lead to wrong medication leading up to wrong effects on the body, this is not something you want happening. Taking medication without a doctor’s consultation is also dangerous as the medicine you are taking could have interactions with other medicines, therefore, aggravating the body and leading to negative effects, or not working at all. For instance, one should not take an Aspirin and also consume alcohol as this can lead to bleeding in the stomach.
It can lead to the medication masking a severe symptom or illness, such that by the time it is discovered, it is too late to treat or will require a lot of money to counter. Nausea, fever, rashes, can be symptoms of an underlying condition, that won’t be discovered when you keep treating the symptoms. It is also possible that you are wrong on how the medication should be consumed, for instance, taking a medication orally instead of it being injected into your bloodstream, or used sublingually.
The self-medication also leads to wrongful doses, where the doctor may base the dosage on your weight and age, but without this prior knowledge, you might be taking the wrong dosage, which can lead up to even accidental overdosing. Self-medication can very well lead to dependence as well as addiction. Those with mental disorders such as depression, PTSD, ADHD, are prone to abusing medication, such as opioids, which can also lead to co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse disorder. This is also possible without a mental condition.
It is not unheard of to overdose, which can lead to death, which is the last thing you want when you just wanted to be rid of stomach pain. Self-medication can also mean you taking medicine from your house and using it again, which could also be expired leading to chemical reactions that you would do better without, as this is not safe for your body and can lead to other conditions such as poisoning.
Antibiotics are good because they help fight bacteria. However, when you use them when there are no bacteria to fight or abuse them, bacteria develops the ability to resist the antibiotics making it even harder to fight them, also, antibiotics are not all the same therefore taking the wrong one will not help you, but instead they may end up creating a resistance even for the beneficial good bacteria that is needed by your body.
I would best advise seeking medical attention from a health practitioner, it might cost you a bit more than self-medicating, but in the long run, your health is of utmost importance and should be a priority above everything else.